By: Bailey Duran
Snapchat is a popular social media app used by millions of people, particularly teenagers and young adults. It enables users to send photos, videos and messages to each other, and it is more intimate than social media apps such as Instagram and TikTok, allowing users to create their own network of people they “snap.”
Many say "snapchatting" is similar to texting, but images are emphasized over text. Users can choose whether to send their snap to one person in their circle or to everyone they’ve friended on the app.
Snapchat also has a “stories” feature similar to Instagram which allows users to post content for their followers to see for 24 hours.
Despite its popularity, there are some potential dangers associated with Snapchat that parents should be aware of.
One of the biggest risks is that Snapchat users can be exposed to inappropriate content. The app does not use any filtering or age verification, meaning that users can be exposed to explicit images, videos, and messages that are not appropriate for their age.
Unlike a TikTok or Instagram feed where posts remain on a person’s feed (unless deleted by the user), snaps on Snapchat may only be able to be viewed once and only for a few seconds before it disappears forever.
This opens the door for predators or bullies who are friends with your children to send inappropriate photos or harmful messages without any evidence that it ever occurred, and because Snapchat notifies the sender if a screenshot is taken of their snap, many children wouldn’t screenshot a message sent to them for proof of abuse due to fear of retribution.
In the same vein, another concern is cyberbullying. Snapchat users can be targeted by bullies who send hurtful and harassing messages that may disappear from the cyber world but will remain ingrained in the mind of the victim for years to come. This can have a detrimental impact on the mental health of the victim and cause harm that could be easily prevented.
A third risk is the possibility of sexting. Snapchat users can send private images or videos to each other, which can be misused. There have been cases of these images being leaked and shared without the consent of the person who sent them or used as blackmail in the future.
According to Enough Is Enough, 46% of children ages 13-17 report that they have been bullied or harassed online, and children ages 10-16 who have been victims of cyberbullying or were exposed to images of sexual content or violence have a 50% greater risk of suicidal thoughts. To help protect their children, parents should talk to them about the potential risks associated with Snapchat and why they must be so careful about whom they friend online.
Our team has also been approached by families who have been impacted by pill-pushers using Snapchat and the "Snap Map" to deliver and solicit drugs to minors. If your child has Snapchat, they must turn the "Snap Map" off.
In our Parent ProTech courses, parents will learn how to set up safeguards and restrictions on Snapchat that prevent predators from being able to converse with their child and ensure messages and photos being sent to their children are appropriate and safe.
Is your child on Snapchat? Let us help give you peace of mind whenever they’re on the app. Sign up for our Parent ProTech database today!
What should families know about Snapchat?
Join Our Newsletter
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.